Tipperary farmers Eddie and Denis O’Donnell are to be honoured with an international award for their innovation and commitment to excellence in grassland.
The father and son duo will be representing Ireland, having won the inaugural Grassland Farmer of the Year in 2017.
They are dairy farmers milking 316 cows on two farms. They consistently grow over 17t of grass dry matter per hectare per year.
It is really important for Ireland to be involved in this event where we can showcase our excellent grassland farmers
Farmers from Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden will also be honoured.
Representatives from all eight member states are to receive awards as part of the three-year Inno4Grass Thematic Network project, which is a €3m project funded by Horizon 2020.
Ireland’s project leader, head of grassland science in Teagasc Dr Michael O’Donovan commented: “It is really important for Ireland to be involved in this event where we can showcase our excellent grassland farmers."
The O'Donnells will head to the award ceremony in Germany in June.
Participants will visit local farms in northern Germany to discuss grassland management with farmers who use different grazing and conservation techniques and will then travel to Hannover for a grassland conference.
The official award ceremony will be the following day.
Inno4Grass project co-ordinator Arno Krause said: “We call these farmers lighthouse farmers. They are shining lights in their countries, providing other farmers with guidance, ideas and knowledge in grassland, so it is important that we recognise their contribution to society in the award ceremony.”
The Inno4Grass programme aims to bridge the gap between practice and science communities to ensure the implementation of innovative systems on productive grasslands.
The long-term goal of the project is to increase profitability of European grassland farms and to preserve environmental values across Europe.